God sees the end from the beginning

4th July 2016

God sees the end from the beginning

“Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.’ Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.” Acts 15:36­-41

Just before this short account of the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas over John Mark, the two men had stood shoulder to shoulder in defending the cause of the gospel against those that were trying to undermine it. What they did during that time preserved the true gospel to be preached for generations to come. They had seen numerous churches planted and this mission would eventually (history would record), change the face of the world. Indeed we are beneficiaries of their fight! Yet Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement, not over some fundamental doctrine or theology, they were clearly together on that, but around a person, a close friend. Who, in Paul’s mind had let them down quite badly and could no longer be trusted in the reality of mission. Barnabas (known as the son of encouragement) was willing to give John another chance. We have the benefit of hindsight and history and can now see the outcome, they in the heat of the moment did not. It would be wrong to say there was a winner and a loser. But history has recorded Barnabas walks out of the story of the church whilst it is told from that moment from Paul’s perspective, he writes the books, continues to plant the churches and shape human history, Barnabas does not. There were hints in the account itself that might lead us to believe Paul’s position had been the right one. The rigours of mission was clearly not for the faint­hearted; we read of him and Silas later being imprisoned and beaten, his caution over John Mark seems understandable. Also his mission with Silas is clearly commended by the brothers in Antioch where Barnabas is not and of course he writes half of the NT. Today in our nation and in our political landscape and even in families we face sharp disagreements. It seems to me to be very difficult in the heat of the moment (but I’m sure not impossible) to see which position might be right.

History will one day clearly show this, God sees it now though, he sees the end from the beginning. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.’ For us as Christians, whichever position we hold, the position of trust and faith in God must unite us in these coming days.

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Last week ­ met up with Tope Koleoso who both oversees me and the church here at Beacon. It was useful and encouraging to report to him how things have been over the last few months. I am hoping to get a date for him to come and preach and meet with some of our leaders in the next 6 to 12 months. He was encouraged by our conversation and what is going on in the church. Recently as we head towards our AGM I have done a lot of reflecting on the last year and the year ahead. I remain very grateful to God for all that he has done at Beacon over the years and all he continues to do, he is certainly with us. One of the keys remains prayer and it was good to gather the other Sunday night to pray as a church and also to hear God speaking to us through prophetic words.

Hylton update ­ Yasmin has begun driving lessons and also begins working for the Challenge next week. Pauline has been pretty busy at work recently. Having finished her exams, Daisy has returned to college. Rhianna continues her job hunting. Though busy we love having our girls back home and seeing them growing up and beginning that transition to greater independence. It must be said we are slower to embrace this change and still think of them as our girls!

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5th Jul­ Beacon AGM a financial update and a review of last year and looking ahead to next. No groups this week.

17th Jul­ Life Stories a summer series on characters in the bible

1st Augus­ Newday, we are still looking for help, please speak to Jen if you think you might be able to do this.

4th Sept ­ Summer party @ the Hylton’s inc BBQ, live music and bouncy castle

Beacon Church